Manama: Explosions targeted police in Bahrain Friday as clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters on the third anniversary of the Gulf nation`s uprising left dozens wounded, authorities and activists said.
Efforts to restart on-and-off reconciliation talks between the Shiite-dominated opposition and the Sunni monarchy and its allies have so far failed to bring an end to simmering unrest in the country, an American ally that hosts the US Navy`s 5th Fleet.
Activists frequently clash with police in mainly Shiite villages just beyond the modern skyscrapers and shopping malls of the capital, Manama. Tensions intensified as the anniversary of the Arab Spring-inspired uprising approached, with government forces tightening security and activists blocking roads to Shiite communities with oil slicks and smoldering debris.
Mohammed al-Maskati, the president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, said his group recorded 38 protesters injured in clashes since last evening. The injuries were caused by birdshot fire, tear gas and beatings, he said. Government forces also reported casualties. An explosion struck a minibus carrying police Friday evening in Dih, the Ministry of Interior said on its official Twitter feed. Dih is a mainly Shiite village just west of the capital, Manama.
Photos released on the ministry`s Twitter feed showed the side panels of the white bus torn from the chassis and twisted upward near the wheel wells.
A ministry official near the scene of the blast told reporters that three police officers were injured in the explosion. He insisted on anonymity because he was not authorised to speak publicly.
Another explosion injured two police officers in Dair, near the country`s main airport, according to the Interior Ministry.